“Euphoria” Season 2, Episode 4 Review
Before reading this article, please note that this article mentions complex topics such as drug addiction and abuse along with physical abuse. For resources on drug addiction/abuse, visit https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline. For resources on physical abuse, visit https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline.
Last Sunday, the fourth episode of “Euphoria” was released, marking the halfway point in the series's second season.
The episode entitled “You Who Cannot See, Think of Those Who Can” is the first episode in the series to drop the format that all the other episodes have seemed to follow, opting out of the typical character-focused scene that takes place before the credits.
Instead, including a montage of Rue (Zendaya) and Jules (Hunter Schaffer) portraying different characters from iconic love stories to help Rue emphasize to the audience just how much she loves Jules.
It should be pointed out that all these stories end in a tragedy, and notably, the majority of characters Rue portrays end up dying. It could be seen as foreshadowing or symbolism for Rue and her drug addiction.
Rue and Jules spent most of this episode with Dominic Fike's character, Elliot. Fike has excellent chemistry with Zendaya and especially Schaffer.
His character is highly likable despite his manipulative nature that has been tearing Rue and Jules apart slowly since the start of the season.
Rue and Jules's relationship has been central to the series, and this episode was extremely revealing to how toxic they really are together. It will be interesting to see how the couple moves on from here as both have committed acts that feel hard to come back from.
This episode is centered around two other main storylines. Maddy’s birthday party at Cassie and Lexi’s house, along with Cal trying to cope knowing that a sex tape of him with a minor is in possession of someone he doesn’t know.
The strongest performances of this episode come from Eric Dane (Cal) and Sydney Sweeney (Cassie).
For most of the first season and the first two episodes of this season, Cal was always more of a secondary character. These past two episodes have given a significant amount of insight into the character and allowed Dane to excel as an actor.
Sweeney has been a standout all season, and it would be surprising if the actress doesn’t receive some sort of accolade for his performance as Cassie.
In typical “Euphoria” fashion, this episode was beautifully shot. The symbolism and references Sam Levinson can create as a director are astounding. Most viewers may not catch the real meaning of scenes or shots until they go online and see it pointed out for them.
This episode highlights Levinson's aesthetic directing multiple times. Whether it’s the previously mentioned “lovers montage” or the final shots of the episodes that represent where characters are at with this halfway point, it’s done artistically.
While Levinson is responsible for what sets “Euphoria” apart from other series as the writer, he also can be faulted with the show's weaknesses.
The acting in “Euphoria” is phenomenal, the cinematography is beautiful and the soundtrack is brilliant. The attention to detail from set design, makeup and wardrobe are exceptionally notable.
However, the plot moves so slowly.
It is evident that beautiful and symbolic shots are prioritized over scenes that actually move the plot along. In a roughly 45 minute episode, it feels like maybe a third of it is dedicated to the central storylines.
As many have put it, it feels like so much is going on, but nothing really does.
It’s not that the overtly artistic or meta scenes are unnecessary as they often provide essential insight to the characters; they just happen too frequently in the same episode.
For a show that has such intense and rich storylines, it’s frustrating and somewhat confusing to wait a week to see the story move along, and then it barely does.
“Euphoria” has four episodes left this season and a significant amount of stories to try and cram into them. It will be exciting to see how the season comes together in the end.
As for the most recent episode, it features some of the most beautiful shots and best acting in the series thus far. Hopefully, fans will get further plot progression in the following weeks.
Sophia D’Ovidio is a first-year majoring in communications. To contact her, email firstname.lastname@example.org.